UK Woman Says She Unknowingly "Smuggled" Tramadol Pills Into Egypt

By Victoria Kim 12/29/17

The woman reportedly "had no idea" the pills were illegal in Egypt but that excuse did not go over well with Egyptian authorities.

Laura Plummer
Laura Plummer will have to wait 60 days before she can appeal her conviction, Photo via YouTube

A British woman charged with smuggling hundreds of tramadol pills into Egypt was sentenced to three years in prison on Tuesday (Dec. 26). Her family, from the city of Hull in East Yorkshire, England, is devastated, worried that the "naive" and timid woman will not survive her prison term. 

Laura Plummer was arrested in October after she was caught in possession of 290 tramadol pills upon arriving in Egypt. The 33-year-old shop assistant was there to meet her boyfriend Omar Caboo for a vacation. She alleged that the pills were for Caboo to treat his severe back pain, and that she “had no idea” that tramadol was illegal in Egypt.

The opioid painkiller is used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is labeled a Class C drug in the UK, meaning it is only accessible with a prescription. 

Laura's family describes her as quiet, timid, and naive, and insists that it was an honest mistake. “All the evidence was presented to show that this was a massive mistake and Laura’s intentions were as she said, just to treat Omar’s back pain,” said her sister Rachel Plummer, according to the BBC.

Her family had been hoping that her ignorance of the law would be enough to convince Egyptian authorities of her innocence, but that was not the case. Laura Plummer was not only sentenced to three years in prison, but was also ordered to pay a fine equivalent to $5,611, according to CNN.

Since her arrest, Laura's family has been struggling to track her down. She will reportedly stay in the notorious Qena prison where she is to remain while she waits to appeal her conviction. Her family has protested her placement at Qena, and worries that she may die in prison. “Laura won’t survive a day in there—let alone three years,” said another sister, Jayne Synclair.

Laura has already been “beaten and robbed” by her cell mates in another prison, according to the Daily Mail

Her lawyer Mohamed Othman is reportedly working on having Laura transferred to Qanater prison, which is said to have “better conditions.” The “Tramadol Tourist,” as the Egyptian media is now calling her, may be able to reduce her sentence as the case progresses. 

Laura will have to wait 60 days before she can appeal her conviction, according to Sky News. “What’s going to happen in those 60 days? What’s going to happen to her? She thought she was going to come home. It’s a living hell,” said Synclair.

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